American Friends

by spaghettipirate

Every time someone from my past life (or should I say other life?) lands in Paris I cannot help but start to wonder how it is that this city has changed me, and how it has shaped who I am today. Budapest offers only more experiences but when 1, 2, 3, 4 people from my other life back stateside show up in the city, my heart aches with longing.

I know we are not the people we were 6 moths ago. Many of us have graduated, preparing to start graduate school, enter to work force, some even getting married. My time in Paris has been a dream, a time of self fulfillment and adventure and I know it is as much tattooed on my skin as in every heartbeat.

I cannot help but wonder what changes my time here has brought, both pronounced and then the subtle ones. I know my hair is longer, wilder than ever with the city, but what do people from home see in the crinkles of my eyes and corners of my mouth? Is my laugh different, or my stride? Do they sense that something has shifted? Or has nothing changed at all?

Now is a time of great and sudden unexpected change back home, and I am content to spend it not-quite-taking-refuge in Europe. 

They are reminders that life too goes on, and somehow we stay the same. They provide snapshots of what I have been missing and I more than willingly prefer to hear them talk about their time in the past six months than anything I could say about myself.

Micheal still in his flip-flops, Kelsey hair red as ever, Christina and her love of Japan.

We are the same, but we are also different.

They too have their own stories to tell, and I wish that I could be in two places at once. I am not the person I left behind – for the better I hope – and who I am here, is not who I am at home. 

I ache for the familiarity of home, and yet find myself startled at the somewhat ‘intrusiveness’ of their being in Paris, as if she were my secret alone.

They allow me to speak in a fluid Maryland English and talk trivialities and commonalities, shared histories, and new adventures, and I sometimes catch myself laughing because we’re in Paris, and how do you explain or begin to describe that feeling?

It’s quite a rush, terrifying and exhilarating, but I’ve been pleased to see that no matter how we may or may not have shifted and changed, we’re still stuck like glue together, bound even more firmly in a way Paris can bring; in addition to our past histories.

Now we’ll always have Paris.

And somehow I find there is nothing greater than that.